Hello! Welcome to my first ever blog post! I’m so excited to start my book blogging journey, and to begin I’d like to talk about the books I read this past month.
July was a good month for me – it started out slowly but then picked up a lot in the end (Thank You, Audiobooks!). In total I finished six books this month and for the most part I really enjoyed all of them. Without further ado, here they are:
1. Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie (5 Stars)
Adichie never disappoints me. This little book was written as a response to a friend who asked how to go about raising her daughter as a feminist. What I liked about this book was its simplicity; Adichie presents feminism in a way that is accessible, understandable, and most importantly, realistic. Her ideas aren’t exactly original (and there are many feminist books that go into far more detail than she does), but this is a great little book nonetheless.
2. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (5 Stars)
Oh, how I loved this book! This is a magical realism, historical fiction novel that combines Jewish and Middle Eastern folklore with a backdrop of late nineteenth century New York City. With rich descriptions and a keen eye for cultural details, Wecker weaves together a beautiful and magical tale of friendship, discovery, and tradition. I loved the complex plot and how realistic the characters felt. Oftentimes fantastical characters can come across as cheesy or fake, but Wecker crafts them perfectly matching their superhuman qualities with flaws that make them relatable.
AND, a sequel will be coming out next year! Look for The Iron Season coming out September 15, 2019.
3. My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton (4 Stars)
The Lady Janies know how to write an entertaining book! My Plain Jane is a YA retelling of the classic Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë and honestly, I think it’s a better story (not that I didn’t like Jane Eyre, but I didn’t think it was amazing). Sure, Jane Eyre is a classic and it’s been touted as being rather feminist, but we can’t ignore the glaring issues it contains. The Lady Janies call out the major age gap between Jane and Mr. Rochester (weird!) and come up with an explanation for why Mrs. Rochester was being held prisoner in the attic. There are ghosts, evil villains, and even Charlotte Brontë herself. All in all, this is a great summer read.
4. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (3 Stars)
Strange the Dreamer is the first book in a YA fantasy series and has gotten amazing reviews since its release last year. We follow the main character Lazlo Strange, a dreamer, story-teller, and librarian, on his quest to uncover the secrets of the lost city of Weep. Told from the perspectives of two characters, Lazlo and Sarai, we learn about Weep and its mysterious past. Despite the hype, I’ve been a little hesitant to read this book because I don’t generally like YA fantasy. I decided to download the audiobook from my public library instead of buying it and I’m so glad I did because I didn’t end up liking this book all that much. It was well-written with great descriptions and well-developed characters (hence the 3 stars) but the story just didn’t do it for me.
5. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (4 Stars)
Gaiman is a great storyteller and this book was no exception. This is a super quick read (it’s less than 200 pages) but still extremely atmospheric. The story follows a middle aged man who, during a trip back to his childhood home, remembers one remarkable week when he was seven. I really enjoyed this book. I had been warned a few years ago when it first came out that it was “creepy” so I put off reading it for a while – and my friend was right – it was a little creepy. But even so, this story was not scary and would make an excellent Halloween read.
6. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (5 Stars)
Wow! Station Eleven was such an amazing book. This book primarily takes place after a worldwide flu pandemic wipes out about 99% of the human population and civilization as we know it comes to a grinding halt. As society reverts to a pre-civilization, tribal system, a group of artists band together to form a Traveling Symphony performing music and Shakespeare to the few scattered settlements in what used to be the upper mid-west of the United States. I listened to this book as an audiobook and my goodness was it good. This is one of those books where I had heard/read wonderful reviews, but was a little skeptical because the description didn’t immediately pull me in. After reading (hearing) this book, I think the reason for this is the plot – it was a lot more complex than the description lets on. If you are like me and haven’t been sure about trying this book, just give it a shot – it will be worth it.